Bike rodeo slated Saturday

Kids of all ages are invited to a bike rodeo on Saturday, where they can learn about bicycle safety as well as have the chance to win a new bike.
The first-annual Canadian Tire Bike Rodeo, which will run from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the store parking lot, will see kids ride their bikes through a course featuring various elements to test their skill and knowledge.
“We have them do a serpentine so we can see how well they can control the bike,” noted Fort Frances OPP Cst. Caroline Spencer.
Children also will be asked to show proper procedures when coming to a stop sign and a railway crossing.
“We’ll be letting kids know where they can improve,” Cst. Spencer added.
Some of the very young children may have a difficult time finishing the course, she noted, but it still is an opportunity for them to learn about proper bike safety.
“We don’t actually recommend kids bike in traffic until they’re at least 11 years old,” Cst. Spencer said. “Their basic skill level is not generally high enough.”
Margaret McDonald, who owns the local Canadian Tire store with her husband, Angus, said she approached the OPP about the bike rodeo.
“We used to have a store in St. Marys and we had a bike rodeo every year,” she said, noting about 175 kids would turn out.
“Every year it got a little bit bigger,” she added. “It’s a great thing for the kids to have.”
McDonald said she would like to see the bike rodeo here grow every year, as well. “We want to make it a community event, and not just a Canadian Tire event,” she explained.
Officers also will be checking that all kids have bike helmets and that they’re wearing them properly.
Taggs Source for Sports will be on hand to inspect bicycles and let parents know if any adjustments or repairs are needed, such as brake tightening or a change in seat level.
The Fort France Fire Department, ambulance service, and Ministry of Natural Resources reps also will be on hand to answer any safety questions.
As the event sponsor, Canadian Tire is donating the use of a section of its parking lot, as well as two bikes which will be given away in two draws—one for kids aged three-eight and another for those aged nine-12.
Each child also will receive a goodie bag for coming out, and food will be available to purchase.